We are excited to announce that we have crossed the border from Queensland into New South Wales…..[insert happy dance here] We have been waiting for the right moment to be able to safely cross during the year of COVID and that moment came in at the end of 2020.
We are so excited to be exploring New South Wales and are glad to have the opportunity to visit the state. Our first stop was a little coastal town called Yamba. This is where we spent a week celebrating Christmas at the BIG4 Saltwater Yamba Holiday Park. Little did we know before booking here that we were about to make life long friends during our stay.
Christmas On The Road
This would be our second Christmas on the road. A lot of travellers headed home for Christmas (if borders allowed). We decided for us, that it was best to stay on the East coast and continue travelling. Which meant another Chrissy holiday in the van. Yahoo!!!
In preparation for Christmas, a K-mart trip to gather up some Christmas supplies is usually in order. We grabbed some tinsel, lights, Christmas crackers and a DIY gingerbread house (plus a whole load of unnecessary extras that have no relation to Christmas…oh dear). We don’t go overboard but we do like it to feel like Christmas at that time of the year. The kids enjoy it and so do us, adults.
The kids love decorating the van with tinsel and the lights we picked up were solar powered so it was perfect for when we were free camping and to decorate the outside of the van when we are parked up. This really gives a Christmas feel, our family love it and so do others around us.
Accommodation During Christmas
When choosing accommodation during the Christmas period, booking in advance is essential. Keep in mind that prices rise a lot of campgrounds are reduced due to regular holiday travellers renewing their annual booking. With enough forward planning, you can find a caravan park to stay at. We chose to stay at the BIG4 Saltwater in Yamba. If you are trying to find a cost-effective caravan park, my advice would be to head inland for Christmas and stay away from the coast during school holidays as this usually brings in lots of crowds.
BIG4 Yamba did put on some great activities for the children and even had a Santa on Christmas day giving out lollies. Activities were available every day and were free which is always a bonus. Another plus with staying at a BIG4 was that there were so many other kids that our children could make friends with. Sometimes travelling we could go many weeks without seeing other children so meeting other kids is always a bonus.
Christmas Lunch or Dinner
Growing up both Dan and I always celebrated Christmas day with a family lunch, so this is what we introduced into our caravan traditions. Plus we really like to enjoy Chrissy day with a yummy lunch and swim in the pool. A roast pork was put on in the morning and was served with all the trimmings. I also really like setting out the Christmas crackers and plate settings, even if it is just our family of five. Of course, there were so many leftovers and leftovers mean easy lunches for the next few days.
Staying at caravan parks is great for finding other travellers to make conversations with, we met a wonderful travelling family and our conversation starter was that we both had an Essential van. This sparked our friendship, and just a few months later we caught up with our new friends and spent a few days at there house. They were kind enough to take us around Sydney and show us the tourist attractions. Those are some of the great things about travelling.
A Farm Sit to Finish the Year
To finish the year, we did a farm sit in Lismore. This was a truly wonderful experience and would happily do this again. We applied for the farm sit about two months prior to entering NSW and kept in contact with the farm owner up until our arrival date.
We found this opportunity from a Facebook page, the requirements were to look after the chickens, geese and cats and in return, we would have free power and water for three weeks. We all had an amazing experience looking after the animals and having quad bike rides around the farm to check on the pregnant cows was a bonus.
There are plenty of opportunities like this right across Australia and can be found within the house/farm sit Facebook groups. Owners of properties and farms are always looking for reliable travellers to take care of their animals while they are away on holidays. Couples are highly sought after and usually, this works best if you have a self-contained caravan. If you don’t have a self-contained caravan don’t stress you can still apply and arrangements can be worked out between the farm owner and yourself.
As the new year rolls around, we hope that all the small businesses that suffered from last years pandemic can get back on their feet and that travellers can explore more of our beautiful country. We have been very grateful that we were able to continue to travel our country and we look forward to meeting new travellers and making some more beaut memories in our van.
As always, if you have any tips or tricks that you would like to share with your fellow travellers please drop a comment below.
Kylie and Dan